A photo of a young girl posing with an elderly man is doing the rounds on social media. It is claimed that the two are married. Social media have shared the image while slamming marriage practices in Islam.

Journalist David Atherton of The European Conservative Publication tweeted the viral image and claimed that the girl seen in the photo was the man’s wife. (Archived link)

A user named David Vance also tweeted the photo and claimed that the elderly man and little girl were husband and wife. Along with this, the user wrote that this was “Islam approved”. (Archived link)

Another user named King David, who describes himself a ‘proud Zionist’, tweeted this picture and described it as the “real face of Islam”. X itself limited the visibility of the post considering it to fall under its policy against ‘hateful conduct’. (Archived link)

We noted that a similar claim has been circulating on social media for years. In 2019, a user named Mrutyunjay Joshi had tweeted this picture and claimed that a 40-year-old man wearing a skullcap married an eight-year-old girl, and also added that she died on the wedding night. (Archived link)

Fact Check

A reverse image search led us to a tweet carrying the photo from August 29, 2016 by Murad Kobanoglu, director of the short film ‘Turkish Chat’. The caption read that a kindergarten (play school) in the Turkish city of Elazığ was celebrating little girls’ transition to reading the Quran by dressing them in wedding dresses and headscarves.

Following this, we performed a keyword search using terms related to the Turkish city Elazığ and the kindergarten using the date filter. We found several more photographs of the elderly man seen in the viral photo. We also noticed that a user had tweeted four pictures on May 19, 2016, which had all been taken in the same office. In these pictures, the same man in the viral picture is seen with a number of different girls, with the caption stating that this was a picture of a kindergarten in Elazığ.

We also found a news story in the Turkish newspaper SoL dated May 20, 2016 covering the event. According to the report, a celebration of Quran reading was held in a kindergarten located in Elazığ, in which the girls were wearing wedding outfits and headgears. The kindergarten had said on social media that children who did not yet know how to read and write were learning the Quran through pictures and videos. The institute had organised a festival to celebrate the study of the Quran by the children. In this festival, the girls wore headdresses and wedding attire. The person seen in the picture is the headmaster of the kindergarten.

Milliyet, a major Turkish newspaper, also published a story related to this photo on May 20, 2016. It stated that the pictures were of a kindergarten in the Turkish city of Elazığ. However, even at that time, many people had criticized the fact that little girls were being made to wear wedding dress costumes in play school.

To sum it up, a number of social media users shared a picture of a young girl posing with an elderly man and falsely claimed they were husband and wife. In reality, this picture was taken at a kindergarten (play school) in Turkey and the persons seen in it are a student and the headmaster of the kindergarten.

Donate to Alt News!
Independent journalism that speaks truth to power and is free of corporate and political control is possible only when people start contributing towards the same. Please consider donating towards this endeavour to fight fake news and misinformation.

Donate Now

About the Author

Abhishek is a senior fact-checking journalist and researcher at Alt News. He has a keen interest in information verification and technology. He is always eager to learn new skills, explore new OSINT tools and techniques. Prior to joining Alt News, he worked in the field of content development and analysis with a major focus on Search Engine Optimization (SEO).